In this endeavour they sought paternalistic support of government for their
work of religious propaganda. They also sought support of British
merchants and manufacturers by holding out hope that converted India
would be a better market for their goods. They were allowed free entry
into India through Charter Act of 1813.
Their Major Activities
Having belief in superiority of western world, thousands of missionaries
passionately carried their faith to India and engaged themselves in
humanitarian activities such as opening of schools, orphanages and
Their important contribution to Indian society was in field of education.
Missionaries influenced colonial government to transfer educational
matters to their control. In process of their educational propaganda,
Christian missionaries linked illiteracy and ignorance to backwardness of
They were to focus attention on social practices such as sati, child
marriage and enforced widowhood as indicators of backwardness.
Their motive behind introduction of modern education was that it would
destroy faith of people in their own religions and lead them to Christianity.
In fact, missionaries were successful in converting a considerable section
of population into Christians. Untouchability and poverty were mainly
responsible for this trend.
Outcome of their Activities
The major outcome was development of deep-rooted suspicion in minds of
traditional Indians. They believed that Christianity would destroy
Hinduism. On seeing government’s patronage to missionary activities, this
fear was strengthened. Enactment of Converts’ Inheritance Act in 1850
was more than what they could stomach. Behaviour of missionaries was
very much resented by Indians. Activities of missionaries were among
important causes for outbreak of Revolt of 1857.
Their vigorous activities and vehement criticism of Hindu religion and
society helped to rouse Hinduism from its slumber. With a view to putting
a stop to rapid conversion of Indians to Christianity and cleaning Indian
society of its many ills, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Dayanand
Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda and many reformers appeared on scene.